Making Your Account in the ‘Book of Life’

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    By Autumn Buys

    The Book of Life is like accounting, said Kevin D. Stocks, an accounting professor at Tuesday”s devotional.

    According to the Bible Dictionary, the “Book of Life” that Stocks refers to is the “sum total of ones thoughts and actions – the record of his life.”

    According to the Bible Dictionary, the “Book of Life” Stocks refers to is the “sum total of ones thoughts and actions – the record of his life.”

    “As an accounting professor, the idea of keeping books is nothing new,” Stocks said. “In thinking about my Book of Life, I wondered if I could apply some of the principles accountants use in keeping the books of enterprises here on earth.”

    Stocks illustrated that just as the record books of JDawgs and McDonalds differ, so do the respective Books of Life of each individual.

    “The point is that each one of us has our own unique Book of Life,” Stocks said. “We need not compare ourselves with others.”

    Stocks also explained how the concept of balance in accounting relates to the Book of Life. He said that while in accounting debits always equal credits and books always balance, actions always equal blessings in the Book of Life.

    “Think of the Word of Wisdom, the sacrament prayer and other such teachings where a given action is promised to result in certain blessings,” Stocks said. “In the Book of Life, debits equal credits.”

    Stocks continues by applying the three basic reports of accounting – the statement of cash flow, the income statement, and the balance sheet – to each person”s Book of Life.

    The first report, the statement of cash flow, refers to the amount of cash an enterprise has. Stocks related this to an individual”s own “reservoir of righteousness.”

    “A reserve of spiritual cash if you will,” Stocks said.

    He recommends increasing the value of this reserve through daily prayer, daily scripture study, and keeping the commandments.

    “There is no more terrible feeling than to be asked to exercise your spirituality when you have not built a reserve,” Stocks said.

    A business”s income statement reports its revenues and expenses. It accounts for the money coming in, the money going out, and which contributes more to the net result, whether gain or loss. Stocks related this to students having regular interviews with parents and church leaders, accounting for activities that have taken place and deducing whether their spiritual revenues outweigh the spiritual expenses.

    Stocks continued with the income statement analogy by pointing out that both companies and people will witness cycles of good and bad, and both must demonstrate diligent effort to achieve success.

    “The best companies are those who work continually to deal with the challenges that come and show steady, positive net income year after year,” Stocks said.

    The third report, the balance sheet, records the assets and liabilities of an enterprise.

    While the assets of a business may include the buildings it owns and equipment it uses, Stocks considers the assets in his life to include values such as faith, hope, charity, and love.

    “It is not the amount of money, the size of the home, the amount of property or the amount of any other worldly asset,” Stocks said.

    Stocks added that these assets increase through overcoming challenges and difficulties.

    Liabilities increase through failing to keep the commandments, but that they are lessened through repentance, Stocks said.

    “The Lord has paid for all our liabilities,” Stocks said. “And they will be eliminated eternally from our balance sheet of life if we repent and keep the commandments.”

    The balance sheet also accounts for owner”s equity, or what the owners have contributed to a company. When applying this concept to the Book of Life, Stocks explained that all equity that a person possesses is from the Lord.

    “The owner of the owner”s equity section of our balance sheet of life is the Lord,” Stock said.

    Stocks concluded by encouraging students to write personal histories, to complement the intangible writing that the Book of Life holds.

    “Although not written on paper, the entries in this book are just as real and will have an eternal impact,” Stocks said.

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